Category Archives: XXFactor series

I run series of posts on a common thread, topic or style. This is a collation of them all.

Manguide 6: Alcohol

Alcohol is like a man. In its many variations, delightful or otherwise, it mirrors the vagaries of my favorite vice. Here’s how.

Breezer – This is the boy you grew up with, the one who sat next to you in fourth grade and helped you with your homework. You don’t really stay friends (unless you are a part of Orkutoholics Anonymous) but if you bump into each other at a party and don’t have any other choices, he’ll do to while away the time.

Liquer – Sweet, comforting, ladylike, can this one be anything other than the gay guy? This is the snazzy, sharp-dressing man-loving man who’ll understand you better than any of your boyfriends ever will. He’ll even understand why you just have to rush through a fun lunch with him, when you spot one of his sex (especially a particularly rough one) at the bar.

Beer – This is your buddy. A guy, who even though he’s straight, you can lounge about with minus make-up and in your PJs. He’s comforting (as much as a straight guy can be, anyway), he makes you laugh, he won’t mind if you throw up occasionally. You can fall asleep next to him but you won’t be sleeping with him, if you get my drift. You’ll also never fall in love with him.

Wine – The charmer, the one who woos you with chocolates and poetry. He’s most likely to bring you flowers on a date and also why women love to be spooned. He’ll slip up on you covertly like a sudden waist-hug from the back or a kiss at the nape of your neck. If you’re going weak in the knees already, stay away from this one. What’s the catch? No matter how much time you spend with him, you’ll never be able to tell when the power balance shifts and exactly when you’ll be at his tender (and cruel) mercies. And if you aren’t careful, you’ll be the one waking up alone with a pounding headache.

Vodka – The party guy, the metrosexual man. He’s hip, he’s what you want to be seen with if you want to get with it. He’s dazzling and upbeat and high-voltage. He’ll also be heavy on your wallet and your head, the next day.

Whiskey – The older man, deep, slightly mystifying and occasionally scary. Only if your tastes run to that type.

Tequila – The Bad Boy. The guy every woman must date at least once in her lifetime. He’s rough, he’s bad news right from the start and he’s irresistible! Take a chance and ride with him at least one night of your life. You’ll wake up feeling like your head is split right in half and your insides are screaming to take off to different galaxies. But you’ll never forget the experience and all the other moments of life will seem like background music in comparison.

Rum – The man you’ll finally want to come home to after you’ve gone through the rest. He’s subtle, something you’ll mistake for weakness if you come to him too early. He’s potent, also sometimes misunderstood for roughness. But if you take it slow and easy, you’ll find he’s just as good with fruits and chocolate as he is with coke. And finally, he’s in a class of his own if you’ve gone far enough to get him on his own. Fall in love with him, he’ll be just the right mix of steadiness and adventure that makes a perfect man.

* But remember, metaphors apart, NEVER drink and drive. It’s plain stupid, no matter who you are, no matter who the guy is, no matter what the drink is.


A version of this appears on Yahoo! Real Beauty.

Manguide 4: States Of India

This might seem to overlap with this chapter but it doesn’t really. That was about the place they live in, this is the colour that runs in their blood (it’s neither red nor blue!)

Gujjubhai : Now I’m going to run against the tide in this city when I rate this man top of my list of good prospective partners. Indeed it was a Gujju who made it clear when he explained,

For a Gujju man, you are an investment. He invests his time, his money and his emotions in you. He doesn’t make stupid desicions in these matters and he will never let an investment go waste. This man knows what he wants and he will get it.

That last line clinched it. How many other men, degrees, dollars et al can say the same thing? Never mind the implied cold-heartedness, I’m all for unshakeable loyalty over fleeting romance any day. Hand me a thepla….

MalluMan : For some weird reason, all the funny men I keep running into, turn out to have a lineage tracing back to ‘Gaad’s worrrn country’. I’m just being a friendly neighbor but I like these men who can laugh at themselves. And yeah, that curly mop hides a quick ticking brain.

Tamizhan: Okay, you already know my opinion on this breed. Familiarity breeds contempt, perhaps? I usually seem to like the stiffy, stodgy, pedigreed types. And that certainly describes our Tamizhan to the T! Of note, if he doesn’t swear by thair-sadam, he isn’t authentically Tam. Even if he is a software engineer in the U.S. with a pedigree and a state rank thrown in for good measure.

Punjab da puttar: Hehehe, you would think I would lurrrrve the male equivalent of this species. Not, however. I guess I prefer to be the star of any show. On the other hand, these guys make for great, huggy-teddy-bear type buddies for girls like me. For the rest of you with tastes different from mine, look for Prince Charming, complete with slick dressing, drenched in perfume (yes, not cologne unless he’s a Dilliwalla) and flowery language. Are you willing to be pretty Cinderella, though?

Bengali babu: Now I really hate this man. He’s the one with lofty ideals, who can throw patriotic fervour with even more panache than romantic poetry. There’s something quite sweet-as-roshogolla about him. And then again, as my heart breaks over the nice temperamental Bong dude who looks like he’s perfectly content being bossed over by women, I’m reminded of another Bong who smirked,

We just let everyone believe that. Who wants to run the world? The women can do it.

Huh. That takes the joy out of the fight for equality. And there’s something quite vile about a man who does know how to use his words. Stand warned, fellow romantics!

Marathi mulga: This one is astonishingly similar to the Tamizhan, minus the curd rice. Unlike the Bong though, he isn’t impressed simply by the fact that you can speak his mother tongue. Hardly impressed by your smart talking. Not visibly anyway. Not exactly a male chauvinist and yet…there is something faintly old-grandpa-like. Yes, even the cool Savarkars.
Quite stable though, if that’s what you’re looking for. Forget the flash though.

I’m obviously missing quite a few states here. Let’s just say the list above comprises the people I seem to keep running into? Ah, and what of a certain other state that’s big in the news and I undeniably have some experience with? Ah, well, enough written about them, lets just let the babus lie, shall we? 😉


* Ring Ring *

Hi! I just made a fantastic discovery! Call me Idea-Columbus!

What did you do now?

Remember the Bluffer’s Guide book? I just discovered that there is an entire series of them! In 2 minutes I will be the proud owner of the Bluffer’s Guide to Women, Relationships, Sex and Seduction!!!!

🙂 No kidding…I remember the book.

What’s more, I’m buying it for a friend as well…which is why I called to check back with you. You liked Men, didn’t you?

Uh, not particularly.

Ha! I meant the book. But you should like them at least a little I think, else your husband will have cause to worry.

Hmm, I do…but not exactly in such large doses.

Hehehehe….I’m going to keep passing on each Bluffer’s Guide to you as I finish it!

🙂 And that means a lot more Call the Bluff posts for the rest of you!! Of note, each of the aforementioned books is by a different author so I may not be splicing Mr.Antony Mason’s words anymore. On the other hand The Bluffer’s Guide to Women is proving to be equally rip-roaring! And no, it isn’t about female-bashing. Wait and watch… 😉

Welcome to the Metrosexual era

So we are a city of metrosexual men? Hmm. I guess I should revise my preferences. Let it never be said that I’m not fair. So welcome, men, to the joys of beautification! That said, let me extend the olive branch to my insofar suffering male counterparts and attempt to smoothen the process for you. After all, I have been a woman all my life, tomboyishness and gender stereotype dilemmas notwithstanding…I still do have a leeetle more experience than you in this department.

As a gesture of welcome, I present a handy manual on all things that you’ll have a chance to learn now that you’re on beauty-territory:

Tired of being Beauty’s Beast?

Do you wish women would swoon over your smooth, shaven cheeks? Your dapper dressing? Your smart shoes? Your head-spinning cologne?


Congratulations! Now that you’ve made up your mind, whipped out your wallet for the potions and creams, what’s next? The clothes don’t make a man…alone. We are here to help you be the complete Metrosexual Man!

Presenting a path-breaking programme that ensures that you are truly beautiful in every way….

1. Accounting – Time and for money: How to fit a before-date makeover into one free hour and a limited budget. Extras include time-stretching ploys, excuses, haggling and screaming over the din.

2. Survival kitting – How to assemble your own personal tool-kit for makeovers, quick-fixes, first-aids, touch-ups.

(Click on thumbnail to see full comic on a new page)


3. Discomfort management – A guide to living and loving starch, pins, elastic and pretty but comfort-challenged fabrics. A special booklet on Spandex for aspiring superheroes!


4. Dealing with support staff: Essential beginner’s guide to bargaining, quality assessment, communicating body fit requirements to tailors and the value of an amicable relationship with your hairdresser.

5. Body language modification: A practical course on how to walk, stand, talk and perform all other basic human movements with maximum grace and minimum discomfort.

Say bye-bye to the Beast! Hello, Mr.Beautiful!

Interested applicants may leave a message here and we’ll get back to you.

Note to women friends: Any volunteers wanting to help me get this in order? No laughing allowed….till after we collect the fees!

The laws of men in relationships*

* With due apologies to Newton Sirjee who we all agree, was a very smart man, indeed.

First Law:

Every man continues in his current non-single relationship state (dating, just good friends, chasing, no-strings-attached, in love, married) unless acted upon by a force internal (dramatic negative behaviour by woman like nagging, extreme indifference etc) or external (subtle positive behaviour by other women like smiling, cleavage-flashing, PDA etc).

(Click on thumnail to see full comic on a seperate page)


Men are inertiatic.

Second Law:

The rate of change of a man’s interest in a woman is directly proportional to the force (external or internal: see First Law) and takes place in the direction of the force.


Third Law:

To every female action towards changing the First Law and/or implementing the Second Law, there is always an opposite reaction, at least verbally. Equal or not depends on the stubborness of the man concerned and could determine which way the relationship swings from there.

Feminine Logic

In some roundabout way, we manage to make sense. Umm well, we just like to gather in the facts first. Uh huh.

(Click to see full comic on a new page)


Call the bluff on GIZMOS

The Guide:

Men are touchy about glib references to phallic symbols (even if the car is bright red and called a Probe). They do not see cars as ‘penis substitutes’ for two reasons:

  1. Few men can afford a Lexus or a Ferrari.
  2. There is no substitute for a penis.


Size is of definite consequence in the man’s mind. Of note, mobile phones are probably the only things in the world about which a man will delight in saying,

Mine is smaller than yours!!!!

Blue and Not Sweet

Meeing man who has been sternly warned not to exhibit any of the annoying behaviour that have so long been his joy and pride. We won’t go into the details of what entails ‘annoying’ here, it’s fairly wearing out. But said man has sheer genius talent in this and brings forth new annoying habits.

Blue squarish thing with buttons is flashed in my face at every opportunity. Let’s count the times it’s whipped out…oh, not, it’s strategically placed on the table in full view. Presumably since I don’t take adequate notice of it, it is snatched up every now and then to be tinkered with. Let’s count:

1. During discussion on when the said restaurant chain had been set up. Google search yields nothing. Waiter called upon to ratify my mostly accurate guess.

2. After picking up only one word from my sentence..’chess’. I am challenged to win a game against said blue-squarish thing. When I decline, I am treated to a long, involved description of said owner’s weekend itenarary spent losing to the said object.

3. On being questioned whether jhula-type chair on which man is sitting can break under his weight, I muse…dunno, the torsion… I am greeted by loud hooting and a proclamation that “THERE’S NOTHING CALLED TORSION. I can’t remember its exact definition just then so of course blue squarish thing is summoned to help again. Tch, tch pore thang he, it proves me right. But of course. Why do men invent toys that make them look like even bigger fools than before?


(Click to enlarge on a new page)

Rude and Red

Yesterday I was called rude. And all I was doing was describing a revolutionary new idea I had. Hmph, no one ever accepts brilliant new ideas when they are first born. But whatever am I IdeaSmith for, if not to express new ideas, despite all opposition?

Transcripts from the conversation that resulted in my new name…..


So I was discussing with a few like-minded women and we decided that we would outlaw men!

Of course we’d have the Museum of Natural History and one specimen would be preserved for posterity there. Framed or bronzed or whatever. And my grand-daughters would take their grand-daughters there and point and say,

See that’s what your great-great-grandmother had to cope with!

To which the 6th generation would reply petulantly,

Really? What a loser she must’ve been!

And 3rd generation would defend saying,

Certainly not! In those days these creatures were running around loose with no one to control them!

And 6th generation suitably impressed would coo,

You didn’t say that! Oooh, what a brave woman she must’ve been!!!

After dramatic sigh, I sat back and then pointed out,

For the exhibit we’ll choose one of your species, but one that isn’t quite as depraved. So of course the alpha males are ruled out. And umm…you aren’t nice enough to be a beta male, so sorry but your application won’t be considered either.


My listener had a faint smile on his face but I think that was more out of a lack of suitable reply than real amusement. Whatever. Thus newly christened ‘Rude and Red‘, I trudge forth on the path of new, revolutionary ideas. Hah!

Call the bluff on HOUSEWORK

The Guide:

Men approach the state of the house rather like the Three Wise Monkeys:
See no evil, Feel no evil, Smell no evil.


But you will notice, there’s no “Touch no evil“. Of course not, considering there’s a blanket assumption on all women being evil….and guess who is doing all the housework?

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